Medical Secretary

Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     

Medical Secretary


Medical secretaries support doctors and other health care professionals by performing a wide variety of clerical and administrative tasks. These duties range from scheduling appointments to word processing to filing. Since their work is highly specialized, their job requires them to have knowledge of medical terminology and procedures, such as insurance rules, billing practices and hospital or laboratory procedures.

Medical secretaries transcribe dictation, prepare correspondence, and assist physicians or medical scientists with reports, speeches, articles, and conference proceedings. They may also record patients' medical histories and order medical supplies. More generally, they organize and control the day-to-day functions of a health office or institution. They are truly the supporting backbone of a health organization and without them; most doctor's offices and hospitals would be in complete disarray. The duties and functions of a medical secretary vary greatly from one organization to the next. They perform administrative tasks ranging from routine general office functions to acting as special assistants in particular patient's cases. Depending on one's level of experience, the administrative duties will fluctuate.

In the last decade, the role of the medical secretary drastically evolved due to technological advancements. Computers have replaced and simplified some of the once-traditional tasks allowing medical secretaries to take on more challenging projects and responsibilities once reserved for nurses and other professional staff. Functions such as training new staff members, conducting research on the Internet, operating new office programs such as spreadsheets and multimedia presentations and operating medical equipment are good examples of some newer duties. In accordance with these technological changes, the medical secretary's main operative responsibilities have remained much the same. They still must answer phones, book appointments and run the medical office's administrative side.
         Related Careers
arrow Accounting Clerk
arrow Accounts Officer
arrow Actuary
arrow [ view all related careers ]

Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs Offered:
  • AA: Medical Office Assistance



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Medical secretaries will have good oral and written communication skills because they constantly speak with many people on the phone, booking appointments and answering questions. They have good interpersonal skills, excellent organizational and time management skills, and have the ability to work independently or as part of a team. Since many of the clients they deal with are sick, they must be sympathetic and patient with everyone they deal with. Finally, medical secretaries must have the ability to compile and organize information.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Answer the telephone, schedule and confirm medical appointments, greet patients, and receive and communicate messages to doctors
  • Use word processing, spreadsheet and other software applications to prepare reports, invoices, financial statements, letters, case histories and medical records
  • Interview patients to complete intake forms and other documents
  • Complete insurance and other claim forms
  • Set up and maintain records management systems, including classifying and coding electronic and hardcopy files
  • Operate sophisticated office equipment such as voice mail messaging systems
  • Perform other clerical and administrative functions as required, such as maintaining an inventory of supplies
  • Medical secretaries always work in health care settings. They may work at a desk or standing on their feet answering phones and greeting patients. Standard office hours are the norm for most medical secretaries, yet some may be required to work evenings and weekends. Those who work in hospitals and doctor's offices dealing directly with patients may regularly be exposed to contagious diseases.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Medical secretaries are employed by all kinds of health organizations: doctor's offices, hospitals, medical clinics and any other health care settings.

  Long Term Career Potential  
There is not that much room for advancement in this field as the next step up in a health organization is a doctor or nurse; both of which require extensive education. Experienced medical secretaries often advance from performing routine clerical tasks, such as answering phones and filing to the supervision of other medical secretaries. They can also move to other fields and work as administrative assistants and receptionists in the communications field or for a government agency.

  Educational Paths  
There is no set path for becoming a medical secretary. Most positions only require a high school diploma with strong communication skills. Community colleges offer diplomas and certificates in medical administrative or secretarial positions, which can also be very helpful and give you a competitive edge when searching for a job. Many medical secretaries also have related postsecondary educations in health. Knowledge of medical terminology is essential.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs Offered:
  • AA: Medical Office Assistance

UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Specialist (10-Month Diploma Program)

Grand Canyon University
Turn your love of helping others into a career in the health care industry with a degree from Grand Canyon University online. Learn more!
Programs Offered:
  • B.S. in Health Information Management

Milan Institute
Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.
Programs Offered:
  • Administrative Medical Assistant
  • Administrative Specialist

Platt College
Turn Your Passion Into A Career with Platt!
At Platt College, we encourage our students to follow their passions, wherever they may lie, to find a career they love. You’ll find a supportive learning environment and career-focused training designed to help you gain the knowledge and hands-on training you need to succeed. 
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Administrative Specialist

National Career College
Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Billing and Coding

Mayfield College
Give your career a boost with an education from Mayfield College.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Billing and Coding

Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Ottawa
York University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Privacy Notice | Site Map | Cities Site Map | California - Do Not Sell My Info

Copyright 2003- 2020 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.